2015 Chesapeake Bay Cruise

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ASA104 Intermediate Coastal Cruising Course


July 13-17, 2015




Stephen Defibaugh, Edwin Edwards, Joachim Rohach


H. Jochen Hoffmann

Monday, July 13, 2015

Some of us arrived last night, had a pleasant dinner at Bay Wolf Restaurant, and provisioned the boat thereafter before getting a good night’s sleep. By 0800 today, my student crew is complete. We check out the boat above and below decks, review line and winch handling plus dinghy and outboard motor operations. Next, we go over charts and a sample navigation plan before casting off to start serious training in the harbor, such as picking up moorings and performing a Mediterranean mooring. Since the day’s wind has died, we motor to our first destination and navigational challenge: the very narrow channel to Queenstown on the lower Chester River. We drop anchor and enjoy a companionable dinner while watching a beautiful sun set.

Day Two

We begin by covering engineering topics (power, electrical, troubleshooting measures). Rock who had taken his first Maryland School classes nine years ago and wanted to reconnect, is an eager, competent participant here. Once again we navigate the narrow Queenstown Channel, perform MOB (Man Overboard) evolutions plus engine maneuvers and set all sails to take advantage of a nice breeze on our starboard quarter. We take the first of many bearing fixes and learn to include range bearings (Swan Point North Range is perfect here), depth contours and – as a first step toward GPS navigation -- latitude or longitude lines printed on the chart. Byrne is rising to the challenge of navigating us into Mill Creek off the Severn River where we tie up at famous Cantler’s sea food restaurant for a superb meal ashore.

Day Three

We depart the Cantler’s slip and stop at Whitehall Bay to learn how to set two anchors off the bow. Steve had asked for more in-depth practice with chart interpretation. So this is a perfect time to break out NOAA-Chart No. 1 and decipher “mysterious” markings, color lines, and notes and apply them as we develop our next navigation plans. We practice one more MOB maneuver under engine, before touring Annapolis Harbor on our way to the pump-out station where docking maneuvers are part of this evolution. On our way to the West River, now a treat for my crew: The wind is again on our starboard quarter and perfect for a demonstration of how to set and carry a poled-out jib. None of my shipmates had ever practiced this and were gratified we had that opportunity. Rock had “such a blast” at the wheel that he was reluctant to relinquish it until he, too, recognized “it’s hot out there” and a water break is in order. Our docking at Pirate’s Cove is completed without a hitch. We enjoy showers in the marina followed by the best sea food dinner yet.

Day Four

We begin this day by learning about and then performing DR (Deduced or Dead Reckoning) navigation which includes recording hourly weather observations and status indicators concerning the boat and its systems. Using Chart No. 12270, Chesapeake Bay, Eastern Bay to South River, the crew picks a DR track of 133 degrees True from G “1A” Fl G 2.5s at the mouth of the West River to G “1E” Fl G 4s South of Kent Point and at the entrance to Eastern Bay. Brisk NNE winds at 15 to 20 knots on the beam prompt us to double-reef the main as we speed across the Bay toward St. Michaels on the Miles River. We tie up at the Crab Claw Restaurant for a light lunch and a quick tour of the St. Michaels Maritime Museum. The ASA-104 test completed (all pass), we cast off again to make our way to our last anchorage at beautiful Tilghman Creek and one more enjoyable dinner aboard.

Day Five

On our last day, we make ready to pass through the Kent Narrows Bridge, a two-leaf bascule bridge, Horizontal Clearance 48 ft., Vertical Clearance 18 ft. (closed) connecting Prospect Bay and the Chester River that opens during the day every half hour on demand. Byrne is particularly eager to have that experience so he will be at the helm when the time comes. Steve, using again Chart 12270, has worked out a very good navigation plan that includes a latitude/longitude waypoint West of Tilghman Point at 38º51.33' North; 076º14.66' West where we’ll make our turn to 353 True to G “1P” Fl G 4s East of Parsons Island. Upon leaving Tilghman Creek, we pass the double topsail schooner SULTANA, a replica of a colonial era (1768-1772) revenue schooner in the British Navy. Our passage proceeds flawlessly, Steve has the VHF comm with the Bridge Tender on Channel 13 and discusses safe passage. Ed is steering skillfully through the bridge opening against a strong current. Now Rock has the wheel. The sail up Chester River is uneventful. We pump out, fuel up (students are docking) and put the good ship Acadame safely back in her slip.

We have created wonderful memories, Shipmates. Your captain thanks you.

Fair Winds, always...

Captain H. Jochen Hoffmann
On board S/V ACADAME

Rock Hall, Maryland




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